TOP 5 PICKS FOR THURSDAY, MAY 17
1. ZooFari At National Zoo
Bummed the Betty White event sold out? This National Zoo's annual fundraiser will brighten your spirit. More than 100 restaurants including Graffiato, Citronelle, and Restaurant Eve, will be participating, sampling their finest cuisine to help the animals. Add in a silent auction, a few "Top Chef" contestants, animal demonstations and more activities that will allow you to forget about Mrs. White. 6 p.m., all ages, $150 to $200
2. "Freak Dance" at Arlington Drafthouse
UCB founder and funny person that seems to have cameos in every decent to good television show and film, Matt Besser is the mastermind behind this sort of improvised film. A parody (not all parodies are bad) of dance films, "Freak Dance" is more "Strangers with Candy" than "Scary Movie." This screening includes a Q and A with Besser. 7:20 p.m., 21+, $12
3. Listen Local First May Showcase And Panel Discussion At Blackbyrd
If we're supposed to support local retail, why not local music? Listen Local First gets local music of all genres in stores, cafes, food trucks and more. A few times a month they produce events highlighting the music scene. Tonight's discussion will focus on the role technology plays in local music with panelists Philippe Chetrit from Tixelated, Rob Connelly from ESL Radio, Paul Vodra from Hometown Sounds and more. Adrian Krygowski, The Grey Area and Redline Graffiti will perform post-discussion. 7 p.m., 21+, $5 to $10 donation
4. Nick Waterhouse at Sixth and I
For fans of Motown era R & B that don't want a revival act. Waterhouse is in the same vein as Mayer Hawthorne, a fan that became an ambassador for the past. 8 p.m., 21+, $10 to $12
5. Toni Morrison At Politics And Prose
The Nobel laureate and 2012 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom will not be lecturing or doing a Q and A, just signing copies of her eleventh novel. So why go? Because she's a Nobel laureate and 2012 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 4 p.m., all ages, $24 to purchase the book
TOP 5 FOR THE NEXT 5 DAYS
Friday, May 18
Washerwoman at Comet Ping Pong
Pummeling dark wave music from a two piece, Washerwoman is the kind of band that makes you want to pick up an instrument until you see them live. On record, Washerwoman is the soundtrack for awful things happening in a David Lynch film. Live, they're a pummeling force of rock and roll, meant to utilize their drums and guitar for evil, scaring away anyone who thinks they can replicate the massive sound.
Saturday, May 19
In Praise of Independents: The Flaherty at National Gallery of Art
The film programming at the National Gallery is full of quality films for a variety of genres and era. The Flaherty, an annual seminar for flim, is in the same vein. This weekend's program includes a selection of experiments, documentaries and shorts from the 2011 "Sonic Truth" seminar.
Sunday, May 20
Grey Market at Emergence Community Arts Collective
For all the food producers that don't fit into the farmers market system, the Grey Market offers an opportunity for local food producers a chance to sell their goods.
Monday, May 21
Polyphonic Spree at Sixth and I
This 20+ member rock and roll chorus has been doing their looks-like-a-cult-but-isn't-a-cult thing for more than 10 years. The sound is overwhelming and your chest will heave with positivity. If you need a pick me up, this is for you.
Tuesday, May 22
DC Youth Orchestra at Kennedy Center
The Millenium Stage will showcase students from the area performing works by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius. You'll be showing support for the arts and growing your musical mind.